At this point, what do you understand from The Seven Essentials of The Way of Tea by Rikyu? Let’s take a look at them once again.
The seven essentials:
1. Prepare the tea just right
2. Place the charcoal appropriately to boil the water
3. Arrange the flowers as if they were in the fields
4. Make it seem warm in winter, and cool in summer
5. Do things ahead of time
6. Have umbrellas ready even if it is not raining
7. Care about the guests
These are a little abstracted, so I came up with my own interpretation for each. The following are the important points that I thought of:
1. Considering appropriate points on things
2. Preparations of things
3. Making things natural or being natural
4. Environment of things
5. Leeway on your mind
6. Preparing for any contingency
7. Consideration to others
Did you notice that the essentials don’t include much about tea preparation? Rikyu could have told us how to prepare delicious tea with the right amount of tea, correct water temperature or how to whisk. But, he left different things as the essentials. The taste of tea might not be the one, and there are more important things. I think that the vital key is to spend a peaceful time, and these important lessons are for that reason.
You find the hospitality of the host from the beautiful simple flower displayed in the room, and you feel warm by communicating to other guests through greeting. The feeling of other’s kindness will make the ceremony even more special and meaningful, which has captivated many people throughout history. The essential is not just about the tea, but also consideration to others.
My interpretation may vary in the future as I experience and understand The Way of Tea more.